Ok. So you’ve decided to bite the bullet and get the toilet fixed, or you’re fed up with the hot water service being on the blink. You pop on to Google and search ‘Plumbers located in Hawthorn’. There you see 75 plumbers to choose from- on the first page. Holy moly!!! Where do you start?
Engaging the “right” plumber can certainly be a challenge. Sorting out the “wheat from the chaff “ is really important in ensuring that you have a truly great experience with your tradie.
There are a number of critical question that need to be asked upfront so that you, the customer, know what you are getting in terms of price, qualifications, timeframes and experience. The first question is an obvious one but important all the same.
1. Where are you based? Where is head office? Do you service my suburb?
This question is to determine where their normal working/farming area actually is. It makes little to no sense when a tradesman has to travel 75 minutes each way to undertake a small to medium sized job. If the plumbing company is based in Toorak they really shouldn’t be servicing Caroline Springs.
Quick tip- Try and employ companies on a local level and the service will be a lot more responsive and more affordable.
2. Are you guys experienced in this “plumbing specialty”?
Eg. roofing/blockages, burst pipes etc?
At this point you need to explain the problem (in detail) that you are experiencing. Ask them – Is this within your skillset? When was the last time you fixed an issue like this? And what was the outcome in terms of timing and costs. Is there anything else I should be mindful of?
3. How much will it cost me? You don’t want any nasty surprises…
Here’s the moment to determine costing. Ask the plumbing company to clarify;
- Cost of the service call – The service call should be a one off cost for this particular job. Therefore if the plumber returns over a number of days to fix the issue you should only be charged once.
- Hourly rate and ‘approximate’ hours involved
- Is there a minimum call out? If it’s a small job ask the company if the job takes 5-10 minutes what will that cost be.
- Is this inclusive of GST? A sneaky one to clarify.
- Is there any other cost that may be incurred when undertaking a job like this? Get them to outline this clearly.
Quick tip – Write it down and discuss this with the actual plumber undertaking the works so expectations are set and are clear before the work is undertaken. Nothing worse than awkwardness around payment once the job is complete.
4. When can these works be undertaken?
It’s one thing to feel comfortable with the plumbing company and what they have to offer, however it wont become a win-win if they can’t attend to the property for another 3-5 weeks. Determining realistic timeframes is very important part of engaging a plumber.
Quick Tip – This question needs to be asked prior to giving them the go ahead.
5. Are your guys licensed and registered plumbers? What’s the full name of the plumber attending?
It’s worth having the discussion around qualifications. Ask who’s license the business is operating under and what’s their involvement within the company.
As a ‘stranger’ is coming into your home or office it’s also worth asking who will be attending your property. Get their full name for a reference point.
Quick Tip – There is also no harm in requesting the plumber to show you their registration from the Victorian Plumbing Authority upon arriving at the property. Just a friendly way to keep everyone on their toes.
6. What’s your point of difference? Why should I choose you Mr Plumber?
If a plumber/plumbing company can clearly articulate what their point of difference actually is without criticizing their competition it positions them in being competent and confident. It also gives the plumbing company an opportunity to communicate across what their offering actually truly is. Once this is verbalized it provides clarity and joint understanding of both parties expectations.
As a customer, if the plumber answers and provides only valuable and honest information from the questions above and you are comfortable with it- and it make sense. Then you are on to a winner.
Don’t be afraid to get them to “speak in laments terms” so that they don’t confuse you with plumbing jargon.
Just remember though, it’s always smart to call at least 4 plumbing companies to get a good feel for their offering, their phone manner and their level of care. It truly is worth spending an extra 10 minutes in choosing the right plumbing tradesman for your needs. That extra 10 minutes could save you hundreds of dollars and a bucket load of stress.